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Ingrown Toenail

Two pairs of feet | Healthier Me TodayThis is a painful condition that occurs when the edge of the nails grows into the skin close to it. This results in pain, redness, tenderness, and even infection.

While the condition can affect any toe, experts have pointed out that the big toes are more likely to be affected. One or both toes can be affected.

An ingrown toenail is a common condition that affects many people in the United States. A recent study shows that 20 out of 100 individuals that visit their doctor for a foot-related issue have an ingrown toenail.

Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, including children. But it is common in older adults.

According to IPFH (Institute for preventive food health), 18% of adults in the US will experience the condition at some point in their life.

Types of Ingrown Toenails

Below is an overview of the various types of ingrown toenails.


This is common in children. It occurs when there is a delay in the growth of the nail.


This is when congenital develops as a result of hypertrophy or the malalignment of the toe.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

Below are some symptoms you will experience if you have an ingrown toenail

  • A buildup of fluid in the area
  • Tenderness and inflammation of the skin close to the nail
  • Bleeding from the area
  • Overgrowth of the skin next to the toe
  • Pain when pressure is placed on the affected toe
  • Presence of pus in the area

Diagnosis of Ingrown Toenails

To determine if you have the condition, your doctor will carry out a physical exam. If the toes happen to be infected, your physician will use an x-ray to check if the condition is a result of an injury. An x-ray can also show how far the nail has grown into the skin next to it.

How to Treat Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be treated at home if the nails haven’t pierced the skin; and if there isn’t any noticeable sign of an infection. However, if you notice the following in the affected area, you should seek medical attention.

  • Redness
  • Pus
  • Warmth
  • Swelling

You should also consult a doctor if you have the following health conditions.

  • Diabetes
  • Circulatory problem
  • Peripheral vascular diseases
  • Surgery

If the condition doesn’t improve after using home remedies, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor will recommend either a total toenail avulsion or a partial toenail avulsion procedure.

Below is an overview of each of them.

Partial nail avulsion

During the procedure, the affected area is numbed and the side of the nail that pierces into the skin is cut off. To prevent the toenail from growing again, your doctor will use a compound known as phenol to treat the area.

Total nail removal

This procedure is recommended when a large portion of the nail is damaged. During the procedure, the affected area will be numbed. Next, the entire nail will be removed.

How to Manage Ingrown Toenails

Here are some alternative treatments that can help address the condition. Be sure to consult your doctor before trying them, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition like diabetes.

Soak in apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for addressing ingrown toenails, as it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and pain-relieving properties.

Here is how to use it:

Prepare a bowl of warm water and add ¼ cup of apple vinegar. Soak your foot in it for 15 to 20 minutes daily. Pat dry afterward.

Antibiotic ointment

Applying an antibiotic ointment to the affected area can help lower the risk of infection and speed up the healing process. To get the best result, you should follow the instructions on the ointment you want to use.

Pain reliever

To quell the pain associated with the condition, you should take over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol. And if the area is swollen, you should take Advil, as it can address the swelling and the pain.

Wear loose shoes

To prevent an ingrown toenail from worsening, you should wear comfortable shoes. If the condition is severe, you should avoid shoes and stick to sandals. This will help reduce the pressure on the affected area.


  1. How do I prevent an ingrown toenail? Here are a few things you can do to reduce the odds of your developing the condition. Have your toenails trimmed straight across! Don’t wear tight shoes, Ensure that your toenails are at moderate length!
  2. When should I consult a doctor? You may be able to address the condition at home if the nail hasn’t pierced your skin. However, if it has, and you are experiencing symptoms like irritation, redness, and pain, you should consult your doctor.

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!